Brewers Association Invests in the Future Malting Needs of Small Brewers

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In April, the Brewers Association (BA) joined Canada’s Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute (BMBRI) as a member, to ensure that American craft brewers’ needs and perspectives are well represented. Roughly 20% of the malt consumed by U.S. brewers is imported from Canada as malt or barley, so engagement with the Canadian barley industry is important to BA member brewers, and their supply chain.

BMBRI is similar in purpose to American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) in the U.S.—they use member dues to support critical research that directly benefits craft brewers. Ensuring access to high quality malt starts with maintaining grower interest in barley as a competitive crop, and continues with ensuring the availability of malt that performs well in the brewhouse. BMBRI’s work helps ensure that new Canadian malting barley varieties are better for growers and meet the premium standards of BMBRI members and their customers.

BMBRI activities focus on research and development, evaluation, and communication by:

  • Funding research in barley, malting barley and related areas
  • Providing feedback to breeders, researchers, and producers about malting barley quality traits that are important to the industry
  • Coordinating collaborative trials for the registration of new malting barley varieties
  • Coordinating generic plant-scale test information exchange among BMBRI members
  • Contributing to malting barley variety eligibility and recommended lists
  • Providing information and resources to industry members that support production and marketing of Canadian malting barley, malt and beer
  • Sponsoring seminars to encourage the flow of knowledge between the malting and brewing industry and the research community, as well as producers
  • Communicating the outcomes of BMBRI’s development and evaluation projects, at domestic and international forums

Strong industry membership is the foundation of BMBRI, providing the resources and expertise necessary to critically evaluate new malting barley varieties and identify industry needs. In the past year, BMBRI, BA and BMBRI member craft brewers developed breeding targets for the next 10 years that, for the first time, incorporate the needs of all-malt brewers. Such needs were articulated in the 2014 BA white paper Malting Barley Characteristics for Craft Brewers, and diverge significantly from the needs of adjunct brewers, primarily in the need for lower protein, lower diastatic power, and lower levels of FAN.

(MORE: Protecting the Supply Chain)

The average craft brewer is too small to afford a membership in BMBRI, but their specific malting barley needs are important, and remain largely unmet. By pooling member brewer resources, BA provides the small brewer collective voice and funding to BMBRI, which was previously absent. BA members can be assured that their dues are being reinvested in this critical supply chain stakeholder group in support of research which benefits their breweries directly.